Are you hanging out to clink champagne flutes while wearing a silly hat? Or are you trying to ignore the reminders of Christmas that are popping up EVERYWHERE right now?
It seems that most of us fall into one of two camps. You either love everything about the silly season (including Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas” warbling). Or, you wish you could crawl into a hole and hibernate for a few months until it’s all over (no judgement here….).
Whatever your thoughts on Christmas and the silly season, hiding away really isn’t an option. Not when the December quarter is one of the most lucrative of the year for most small business owners:
- December 2021 saw retail trade grow by 4.8% on the previous year (ABS)
- Only 55% of retailers believe that December 2022 is most important as more businesses are beginning promotions earlier to include Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Deloitte)
- Despite cost-of-living pressures, retail sales are at record levels, with $34.7 billion spent in July 2022, an increase of 16.5% on last year (MYOB)
So, how can you make the most of the last few of months of the year (while keeping your sanity intact?) Here’s our guide to getting you, and your business, ready for the upcoming silly season.
It all starts with you
For most of us, we are our business. You might be a sole trader, bring on contractors as needed or lead a small ongoing team. Whatever the makeup of your business, the common denominator is you. Without you, your business wouldn’t exist.
This is why you need to focus on getting yourself ready first. It’s important to be in the right headspace so you can get the most out of the season and position your business for success. That means taking the time to be prepared, creating a clear strategy and staying positive.
Getting yourself prepared for the busy months ahead is key. It’s time to take your head out of the sand and get ready for what’s ahead. The best way to do this is to get back to basics so you are clear on what you want to achieve and motivated to keep going.
- Set an income goal (have something tangible to work towards)
- Develop a realistic marketing budget (and stick to it)
- Create an irresistible package or offer (to encourage conversions)
- Plan for extra staff and resources (to reduce overwhelm)
- Stocktake your inventory (and order early)
- Understand what your audience wants (and give it to them!)
Think about what you want to get out of the next few months and stay laser-focused on the activities that align with your strategy. Answering these questions will help you nail your offer, your audience and your promotional strategy for Quarter 4:
- Why will your target audience want to choose you? How will they benefit?
- What will your offer be? Do you want to clear old stock or launch a new range?
- When will your offer roll out? How will this impact staffing or inventory?
- How are you going to share your offer? What content will you create?
- Who will your offer target? Who will get the most from your promotion?
- Where will you be focusing your marketing efforts?
The silly season is called that for a reason – it’s busy, full-on and draining for everyone. To beat overwhelm and stay focused on the end goal (all the money!), it’s vital to find ways to stay positive, even when you feel you are being pulled in every direction.
- Don’t be afraid to have fun and play on the holiday theme with your audience
- Consider how you can add to their experience to delight and surprise
- Try not to compare yourself to the competition – run your own race
- Share your personality with your customers to create a connection
- Focus on the value you deliver rather than the cost of your offering
- Invest in automation tools (e.g. chatbots) to streamline processes.
Here’s how to get business-readyNow that you have a clear vision, strategy and mindset, it’s time to get your business in shape for the silly season. Is your website optimised for increased visits? Are your socials ready to go? Do you have metrics to help you measure the success of your efforts? Reviewing your website, analytics and business goals will pull all the pieces together and help you make the most of this most wonderful (and busy) time of the year. Wondering how to make that happen? Here are our tips to help you get started.
Review your goalsThe only way to measure the success of your Quarter 4 efforts is to set specific goals. You may have a financial goal, such as making $10K by December 31 or a unit goal, like selling 100 units per month. Whatever it is, it’s vital to review it to ensure it still aligns with your strategy. To keep your business on track, set up a simple spreadsheet and monitor the following:
- Sales (daily, weekly or monthly)
- Website traffic
- Email open rates
- Average order value
- Conversion rate.
Review your analyticsIf you were trading this time last year, seeing how you performed then can help you plan more effectively this year. Data-driven marketing is the best kind – it gives you hard data that you can use to tailor future campaigns and better manage your business.
- When did your sales peak?
- What weeks were slower than expected?
- What tactics worked best for you last year?
- What emails drew the most conversions?
- Which social media posts gained the most traction and engagement?
- Were there specific weeks when sales went through the roof?
- What were your most popular products or offerings?
- What was your conversion rate last year?
Review your websiteHow long has it been since you’ve reviewed your website? If it’s been more than a few years, it’s time to take action. An old, tired or slow website is enough to stop potential customers in their tracks and tank your conversion rate. Do any of these statements apply to you?
- You feel you’ve outgrown your existing site
- You’re ready for a fresh look or looking to rebrand
- You want to increase organic traffic and boost SEO
- You need to boost your conversion rate
- You’re considering a pivot or fresh start
- You’re looking to streamline your processes
- You’d like to offer a better customer experience.
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